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Hundreds oppose bid for open air market in Tipton

Sandwell | News | Published:

More than 300 people have signed a petition protesting against plans to set up an open air market in Tipton.

The protest has come after council bosses approved plans to run pilot markets for 12 weeks.

Those markets are in High Street and Owen Street, Princes End, and Union Street, Wednesbury. Princes End retailers fear markets will affect businesses, be unfair competition and say they have not been consulted properly. They have now launched a petition to campaign against them.

David Taylor, co-owner of John The Handyman's, Princes End, said: "In today's economic climate, running a small business is already tough, without further threats to our ever dwindling trade, particularly from local councillors whose job is to support us, not work against us."

Most needs of local people were already catered for in existing shops selling a wide variety of goods, he said.

"We are concerned that introducing a market would take customers from our already struggling businesses and rather than invigorate the area, it would leave it in a worsened state.

"All we are asking is for councillors to uphold their obligation to consult with us in a fair and transparent manner and so far they have not done this."

Mr Sibindi, owner of Shoebiz, said: "It seems a very disorganised affair, none of the relevant council departments know what is happening and the councillors themselves just won't meet to us to give us chance to air our concerns."

Mr Taylor, running the shop for seven years, said traders feared work had started, as planters were moved from outside.

Great Bridge Councillor Joanne Hadley said this was to discourage anti-social behaviour, rather than for the market and added: "The market will not be in competition with local businesses. It will be a boost.

"I understand some of their concerns, but the markets will bring hustle and bustle to the town and customers. And the majority of responses I have had to the plan have been positive."

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